-Martin County Manatee educational sign in the IRL at Joe’s Point Understandably, many are concerned about manatees. Today, I share the most recent 12/29/21 Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) video update by Dr Tom Reinard. Please click on below.
This FWC site is updated weekly, and previous updates are available. Here one can view the Temporary Field Response Station in Brevard County where only FWC, at a large distance, will interact with these marine mammals, by law, the public cannot. Manatees, as wild creatures, should never associate humans with food. You will see in the video how FWC has made this a priority.
In Florida, presently, the stats for manatee deaths are highest in Brevard County, but also higher by year in many other counties like Martin. Stuart resident and world famous wildlife artist Geoffrey Smith is a friend, and on 12/30/21 he shared some photos that he took of a deceased manatee that had recently washed up on the shores of St Lucie Inlet State Park. With Geoffrey’s permission, I share these photos below. Beware, you may find them disturbing. Geoff reported the carcass to FWC. Please do the same by calling 1-888-404-3922 press 7 for Operator– if you encounter such.
I am also including photos taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch, out on the Sailfish Flats of the St Lucie and Indian River Lagoon. These photos show seagrass cover on Thursday, December, 30, 2021. Readers of my blog will know that since 2013, Ed and I have religiously documented the discharges and cyanobacteria blooms entering the St Lucie River through C-44 and Lake Okeechobee. I believe that the seagrass loss near the St Lucie Inlet is connected to the many years of reoccurring destruction particularly in 2013, 2016, and 2018 as the long lasting discharges kept sunlight from reaching the seagrasses. In Brevard County, seagrass loss is linked to little flushing in the IRL as there are few inlets, and thousands of septic tanks’ nutrient pollution adds to decades of stormwater and ignites algae blooms – also keeping light from the the seagrasses. Scientist note it is all much more complicated than this, however there are certain things we can do to improve the situation- like stop/lessen discharges and make sure septic is working properly and or changed out to sewer.
My hope in sharing Geoffrey Smith’s photographs and getting my husband to regularly visually check up on the seagrass beds is to continue to inspire change. Since 2019 more state and federal funding has been made available for improvements to our waterways than ever before. We inspired that! Now we just have take it to the finish line.
ST LUCIE INLET STATE PARK, MANATEE REMAINS, GEOFFREY SMITH shared 12-30-21.
-“Hi, Jacqui. Manatee on beach St Lucie Inlet State Park the other day.” Geoffrey Smith wrote that these images remind him of poached African Elephants. “So sad.” St Lucie Inlet State Park lies south of the St Lucie Inlet in Martin County, Fl.
SEAGRASS PHOTOS, Ed Lippisch
The following photos of seagrass beds were taken by my husband Ed Lippisch on 12-30-21. Seagrasses, like plants in our yards, naturally grow more in warmer months and less in cooler/cold months. So these photos will be a baseline for 2022 to see how the seagrass grows throughout 2022. Since the heavy discharges from Lake Okeechobee and area canals (Lake O is worse as it does not let up and ofter goes on for many months unlike a rain event) the seagrass has lost its lushness but remains visible as in Ed’s photos.
SFWMD Seagrass Presentation Town of Seall’s Point